Notes: The 2008 Mini Cooper has problems with the oil feed lines to the turbo leaking which is not only dangerous & a fire hazard, but also costs $1,200 to fix at relatively low mileage.

Also the 2008 Mini Cooper has a defective timing belt tensioner pulley that can cause the timing chain to break, resulting in expensive engine damage.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 4
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
53,246 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2008 Mini Cooper engine problems

engine problem

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2008 Mini Cooper Owner Comments (Page 4 of 5)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #38

Jul 112013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles


At less than 33,000 miles the engine began making a loud cranking noise. Oil was very recently changed, but checked the level anyway and found it was down about 2 quarts. Added oil and engine noise was reduced. Drove a few hundred more miles and engine noise returned. Oil was again low. Took car to our mechanic and they diagnosed timing chain tensioner problems. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure but did not offer any assistance. The critical timing chain failure can lead to premature engine failure. This is a safety issue because the failing timing chain can also cause the motor to fail. Our mechanic in consultant with the MINIdealer indicates that the only way to ensure this problem does not lead to engine failure is to replace the current engine with a new one that has the timing chain issues resolved. We have no choice but to have this repair done and it will cost approximately $7000 as the vehicle is not under warranty. This issue has been widely reported in other complaints in this database as well as across many MINIowner forums. It appears that a recall order should be issued.

- West Hartford, CT, USA

problem #37

Jul 192013


  • 50,000 miles
I change my oil every 3K on the dot. I check it regularly. Fully synthetic every time. I was told when I bought my MINIwith 42K that the rattle under the hood was normal. At approx. 50K I heard the same metal rattle that sounded like a chain smacking plastic, so I brought it in to be checked. Now I'm stuck with a timing chain replacement that's going to cost upwards of $2,000. Now I'm not one to complain of normal wear and tear parts but who has a timing chain go out at 50K? if you google timing chain issues you will see. There are tons of people who are having the same issue. Luckily mine was caught in my driveway. If this chain goes out on a highway... this can easily cause a fatal accident... please don't wait for an accident to happen. Get these chains replaced with ones that have been quality controlled. This is a true safety hazard.

- Rosamond, CA, USA

problem #36

Jul 032013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 38,432 miles
My MINIhas had regular service at habberstad MINIsince I purchased it. I had complained about engine noise in November 2011 and they found the oil was low and refilled it. At each service I mentioned the noise and nothing was found except to tell me I need induction service, replace leaking water pump (even after the recall for this part was done already) and coolant exchange for $1300. The loud rattling engine noise persisted and car became almost undriveable. It took them 3 days to find that the timing chain etc. Needed to be replaced, which after some research online I had already found to be the problem. Of course my warranty was now up so I had to pay $3000. And my car only has 38,000 miles on it. This is absolutely unacceptable!! I was told by the dealership that they haven't heard anything about this and I should call MINIdirectly and lodge a complaint, which I did. I would like to have this issue investigated, as MINImust certainly have heard from more customers besides me and they are doing nothing about it. The customers are getting stuck paying for a design flaw. Please do an investigation and make them issue a recall to repair this defect and refund our repair costs. MINIneeds to stand behind their motorer pledge and give us the quality product they advertise.

- Huntington Station, NY, USA

problem #35

Jul 082013


  • 52,522 miles


Had to take my MINICooper S with jcw package in to correct a service light issue. Was carbon build up on the valves. Cleaned it for $1500. Drove it about a month and the turbo bypass solenoid valve failed. Back to the MINIcooper dealer in clear lake. They replaced the solenoid and did a oil change for $550 got it home and noticed it had a faint smell of something burning. Thought it could be they got some oil on some parts that get hot. One week after the turbo solenoid was replaced I noticed a oil spot on my garage floor. Raised the hood and the turbo had a oil film on it and the air intake supply on the turbo was loose and practically off the turbo. Took it to dealer. They said look like oil drain bolt leaking. Replaced it but the also cleaned the oil off the turbo" not sure why. I didn't tell them it looked like it was leaking. Maybe they knew" drove it home and it still smelled like something burning. Looked under the hood and the turbo was covered with oil. Back to the dealer. They can fix it for $1200 it is the turbo oil feed supply and return line. Also the oil deteriorated the air intake line and caused it to deform so that it no longer will stay on the turbo intake. After further investigation looks like the turbo oil feed line is a major issue. Multiple reports of this failure. I also saw a service bulletin for the heat shield on the oil feed line. But they failed to do the install on mine. Even though I have had it in for several services since the bulletin. There is definitely a issue with the oil feed line to the turbo. Won't be purchasing another BMW product. Will not be using this dealers service if I decide to keep the MINI

- Pearland, TX, USA

problem #34

Mar 282013


  • 54,008 miles
While driving the car (gas) started running rough and sounded like it was a diesel. After some research I found that the tensioners in the engine are worn out. I had the upper replaced, but the others also need replacing. Based on my own research, it appears the problem is related to the manufacturer's recommended oil change. The company recommends changing oil every 15000 miles with synthetic oil. The fix is supposedly to change the oil at half that, 7500. I've been told this could result in the timing chain coming off and the engine being trashed.

- Morganton, NC, USA

problem #33

May 142013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 27,454 miles
We started hearing a loud noise around 27,000 miles. Car was just over four years old and out of warranty. Ended up with a timing chain issue and it needed to be replaced. Repeated calls to MINIdealer and MINIusa provided worthless, stuck with whole repair and no assistance.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #32

May 142013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 27,454 miles


We started hearing a loud noise around 27,000 miles. Car was just over four years old and out of warranty. Ended up with a timing chain issue and it needed to be replaced. Repeated calls to MINIdealer and MINIusa provided worthless, stuck with whole repair and no assistance.

- Toledo, OH, USA

problem #31

Jan 082013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 55,000 miles
My MINICooper S was purchased brand new, and had all regular maintenance done at the dealership. However, once the warranty expired I took the car to my regular mechanic who has performed work for myself and family for twelve years. After reading this website, and it's complaints the same problems have occurred to me. The oil lines began to leak because there was a clog, and it caused the turbo to burn out. Parts and labor for a used turbo came out to be around $1,800. A new turbo alone would have cost roughly 2,000. Now several thousand miles later, there was an oil leak noticed under the car. I took it to the dealership this time, to see what the exact problem was and an estimate before taking it to my mechanic. They found "several leaks" of which they replaced the water pump, the water pump gasket, valve cover gasket, and finally the oil filter gasket. After the $1,800 bill for that was paid, a call was received declaring that the crank case now has a leak in it as well and needs to be resealed. With the oil leaking from that, the clutch could also be burning out and need to be replaced costing an additional $5,400. The repair bill on this alone would be enough to bring normal hard working people to tears. Also, the cold start rattle identifying the timing belt issues has begun on my car. There are thousands upon thousands of complaints about this on the internet. Glad to know BMW takes care of it's customers and ignores the complaints.

- Easley, SC, USA

problem #30

Apr 112012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 46,000 miles
Dear [xxx], I am writing to you in regards to my MINICooper VIN# [xxx]. firstly, I am aware of two recall notices, id# [xxx] and id #[xxx]. I believe I should have been notified of these recalls but to date have not received a letter. Several times I indicated the sensory warning came on with engine malfunction. This concerns me, because since I purchased this vehicle, I have had catastrophic failures before 45,000miles. I have brought it to the MINIservice center for these failures, including: Replacing spark plugs, faulty coil pack, faulty latch, brake replacement, catalytic converter failure, on-board computer replacement, total replacement of the transmission and currently, the solenoid valve replacement which is not yet fixed. I have enclosed copies of my invoices for these problems and service visits. [xxx], the technician at MINIof camarillo, stated this last problem (the solenoid valve) apparently is related to the vanos although the engine light came on/off with caution message engine malfunction catalytic converter. I took it out for a test drive with him it still had the same exact jolt thrashing back and forth motion hard enough it is felt on the seat. [xxx] at MINIof camarillo informed me in order to repair the ignition coil and replace the spark plugs previously replaced at the calabasas service center I have to pay a substantial amount of money in order to fix this current problem. I don't understand this since the time I brought the vehicle on May 24th the car still shakes violently while exiting out of the freeway and on frequent stops. These continued mechanical problems with my MINICooper have required it to remain unrepaired and out of service at the MINIservice center now for a week to be mechanically safe to drive. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Simi Valley, CA, USA

problem #29

May 212013


  • 40,000 miles
Sound of the engine rattle noise when stars in the morning.

- Fairfield, OH, USA

problem #28

May 092013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 55,450 miles


I had been servicing my 2008 MINICooper S at the dreyer & reinbold BMW MINIdealership for the life of the car, which I bought new. I just had it in the shop around 50K miles and was not told that I should consider changing my timing belt. One day I went to start my car and it wouldn't start. I towed it to the dealer and they told me my timing belt had broken and damaged my engine. I am no faced with replacing my engine and a bill of $6600+. this defect that was not brought to my attention has ruined my engine and after thorough research of fellow MINIdrivers, I am hesitant about what other defects may come about in the future for this car. This should be brought to the attention of the manufacturer and there should be a lawsuit or recall in place to compensate MINIowners for this faulty part.

- Indianapolis , IN, USA

problem #27

Mar 192013


  • 89,151 miles
I currently have an oil leak developing from the turbo oil line that has resulted from a failed O-ring within the line itself. Due to a design flaw, the heat from the turbo wears away the O-ring, which results in oil leaking from where the line is bolted to the turbo via a banjo bolt. This is a serious problem because if the line fails, the turbo becomes starved of oil and burns up, which ultimately causes the whole turbo unit to be replaced. Also, the oil leaking onto the turbo has a potential to catch fire, since the turbo becomes very hot during normal driving. Also if any oil leaks down to the exhaust piping underneath the turbo, those places also pose a fire hazard. MINIrecognizes this to be an issue, but refuses to do anything other than add a heat shield around the connection to the turbo. The line still has a rubber O-ring in it that will fail over repeated heat cycles, and the line needs to be redesigned.

- Pflugerville, TX, USA

problem #26

Apr 132013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 36,500 miles
The car has been smelling like burnt oil for about a week. I took it in to the shop on Saturday. Today, Tuesday, when I was supposed to pick it up, I was told that I need the following repairs because there are "leaks": 1) water pump 2) timing chain 3) valve cover 4) oil feed and return line the car has around 36,500 miles on it and we are looking at about $8,000 worth of repairs! what"?? I paid almost $30,000 for this car and now have to spend additional money to keep it running" the extended warranty that I purchased will cover the first three items on the list. The oil feed and return line is not currently covered under the warranty, even though after a brief internet search, I find that this is a very common problem with these cars. I would like to have this issue investigated, as MINImust certainly be aware of this problem and is doing nothing about it. The customers are getting stuck paying for a design flaw and this is not acceptable at 36,000 miles. The cost of this repair from my dealer is 1400.00!! please do an investigation and make them repair this defect!!

- Redondo Beach, CA, USA

problem #25

Apr 082013


  • 73,000 miles
There is a leak at the oil supply line leading into to the turbo housing. This is a major oil leak and safety hazard. Oil leaking onto the hot turbo can potentially cause a fire. Aside from the potential fire hazard, the leak, had it gone unnoticed, could have caused an engine failure. The local MINIdealership said the replacement would cost around $1,000 with oem parts.

- Cary, NC, USA

problem #24

Mar 302013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 96,400 miles
A significant engine oil leak was detected by oil spots under parked car. The dip stick registered 1 quart low. A quart was added and the car driven about 100 miles the next day. Upon return, the oil was a quart low again. During the preceding two weeks there had been several instances of a burning oil smell and on two occasions smoke coming from under the hood. This was during a rainy period and the smoke was initially thought to be steam from getting water in the engine compartment from puddles on the roads. When I took the car in for service, the dealer found that the oil line to the turbo was leaking as well as the oil filter housing seal. Both of these complaints have been noted in the database previously. The cost to repair was approximately $1000 usd.

- Wilmington, DE, USA

problem #23

Mar 242013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 49,200 miles
I have owned the MINIsince new. Always regularly serviced at the MINIdealer. Recently I started the engine and it sounded more like a diesel engine, very noisy and unusual. Took it to the MINIdealer and as I explained what the symptoms were, the front desk person that took my details diagnosed the problem. The preliminary diagnosis was confirmed later through an inspection by a trained technician. Like many, many MINIowners I have had a timing chain problem. That the front desk staff can diagnose a problem like this made me curious, it must be such a common problem that the dealer sees it regularly. Some research confirmed this was a widespread problem with minis. Owners have had terminal engine damage with engines that are low mileage and simply should not have any problems. This issue with the engine is serious and can lead to a major accident because of a catastrophic engine failure while driving at highways speeds. Although I was lucky, and do not have a huge out of pocket expense as I have extended warranty coverage, I still believe this is an important safety matter that BMW/MINIappear to be ignoring. It should be the subject of a vehicle safety recall. It is poor engineering and design on their part, that should be rectified.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #22

Jan 272012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 35,900 miles
We purchased this car in late Sept./early Oct. 2012 with 29K miles on the car. My wife drives this car, and while traveling on the interstate, as she was entering the off ramp in forest lake, mn her car started to jerk/run like crap (late January 2013). She was able to drive the car home, I tried to figure out the issue, but everything I checked test good, so I brought it to a local import tech, and he diagnosed the failure to be the timing chain tensioner, allowing the timing to jump. He says he started up the motor to test further, it idled for less than a minute before the motor died and now will not start. I now, after owning the car for 3-4 months, have a major engine failure. I do not care to think what would have happened if this happened while my wife was traveling down the interstate at high speeds.... thankx

- North Branch, MN, USA

problem #21

Feb 252013


  • 70,000 miles
Timing chain tensioner failure on 2008 MINICooper leading to large oil leak under pressure. Loss of all engine oil, oil spraying onto hot exhaust system, engine oil pressure loss and oil warning light. Could easily lead to complete catastrophic engine failure/seizure at highway speeds and accident.

- Frederick, MD, USA

problem #20

Mar 142013

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 30,000 miles
The timing chain has locked up. I notice that this is a commom complaint.

- Reno, NV, USA

problem #19

Feb 282012

Cooper 4-cyl

  • 33,000 miles
Strange knocking/rubbing noise coming from the engine compartment for the year 2007+ MINIcooper. From the MINIdealer repair details it appears to be a issue with the timing chain and tensioner system. It also appears that without being fixed the car will eventually have a timing chain failure and possible motor destruction. This could occur while driving and I could lose control of the vehicle causing a crash. MINIwill not fix this problem that they know about without the vehicle still being under warranty. I call for a recall.

- Bastrop, LA, USA

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